Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The future is near: NLS pilot digital talking book program to become Braille and Audio Reading Download

Here’s an update on the digital talking book program from the

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

I’ve posted here before, talking about the great benefits of the program and also sharing that the digital talking book program was in a pilot phase. Also, that some time in the future, that this would transition away from being a pilot program.

Well, the future is now, or it will be as of April 30, 2009.

Braille and Audio Reading Download
Or BARD, (the acronym it will be heralded by,) will be operational as of April 30, 2009

For your information, the BARD’s URL is:

Here are the details from the informational email sent out by the NLS:

Users who know their passwords will be able to log on to the new site; users who rely on their browsers to remember their passwords will need new ones (follow instructions in Section II). All user accounts will be migrated to the new system, so you do not need to reapply. All materials previously downloaded will remain usable, so you will not need to redownload your reading material.

1. Unlimited downloading. The BARD service will no longer limit the number of books and magazines that you may download. Any account holder may download any item at any time. During heavy demand, however, NLS may limit the number of simultaneous downloads for each account.

2. New logon page. The site login will now use a form rather than a dialog box. It is the same type of logon found on most internet pages and should be immediately familiar to users of other sites. This is an important note for screen-reader users.

3. New search functionality. BARD searches will yield more effective results. The use of multiple search terms will return only results containing all of the terms.

4. New "Most Popular Books" list. By selecting the "Most Popular Book" link from the home page, users may access a list of the top twenty most downloaded books on the BARD service in the last ninety days. Fiction and nonfiction titles will be listed separately.

5. Redesigned magazine section. The "Recently Added Magazines" link will now display links to only the most recent issue of each magazine. Magazines older than one year may be accessed from each title's magazine archive. Links to the archive are at the bottom of each magazine's page.

Section II. Take the following steps to access the new site:

1. You must know your login ID and password to log on to the new site. For all users, your login ID is your e-mail address.

2. If you know your login ID and password, you will not need to do anything. Simply access the new site,
starting Thursday, April 30.

3. If you have forgotten your password, you must obtain a new one before you can log on to the new site. Since the new site has a different address from the pilot site, you cannot rely on your web browser to automatically log in to BARD.

4. If you do not know your password but you are able to automatically log on to the pilot site because your browser knows your password, you must choose a new password. To do so, select the link "Update My Settings" from the site home page. From the settings page, select the first link, "Change Your Password." Enter your new password twice, and then select the "Change Password" button. Remember this new password to access BARD.

5. If you cannot log on to the site because you do not know your password, you may have a new one sent to you. Access the password recovery page at
Enter your e-mail address and then select the "Send Me a New Password" button. A new temporary password will be generated and sent to your e-mail address. Once you retrieve the password, log on to the site and choose your new password. Remember this new password to access BARD.

6. If for some reason you are not able to use any of these options, please send a request for a new password to
Because of the anticipated large number of requests, please expect your new password within two business days.

The last day of availability of the pilot site will be Tuesday, April 28. The service will not be available at all on Wednesday, April 29, to allow user accounts to be migrated to the new site, which will be available on Thursday, April 30.

NLS appreciates all who have participated in the pilot test. Your feedback has allowed us to continuously improve the site and to plan future expansions, such as the inclusion of braille books. Though the pilot phase is ending, we remain open to your feedback about the BARD service. Please send your comments to

Send questions or requests about the book and magazine collection to your library.

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